Absolute Service 8.5 Release Notes and Upgrade Guide

Version 3

    Details

    Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.5

    NOTE: The direct download link included in the product announcement for Absolute Service 8.5 is not supported on Internet Explorer 11. Please use an alternative browser. Contact Absolute Global Support for further assistance.


    Resolution

     

    Release Overview

    This release of Absolute Service focuses on user experience measurement: businesses can now measure the effectiveness of their customer service across audience segments through improved sampling techniques and feedback metrics.
    In addition, Absolute Service 8.5 includes social media integration with both Facebook and Twitter, allowing technicians to monitor feeds and raise incidents they find directly within the Service Desk.
    This release also incorporates more than one hundred change requests and new features that touch all areas of the application. New features include the following:

    • Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 3.0 support for single sign-on
    • Drill-down capabilities within dashboard reports
    • Search engine friendly knowledge base articles
    • Second generation interface to both Absolute Computrace and Absolute Manage
    • New dashboards for Absolute Computrace and Absolute Manage
    • Retina display support
    • Change request trigger fields that allow only certain changes to initiate request creation from CMDB updates
    • New calendar view for technician leave
    • Addition of configuration item groups for the CMDB

    Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.5.0 [r5862]

    Absolute Service 8.5 contains numerous new features, fixes, and enhancements based on customer requests. The following table provides information on the most notable of these new features, fixes, and enhancements. 

    Asset Management Import Engine (AMIE)

    • Absolute Manage Ownership field is mapped by default (was commented out)
    • Absolute Manage advanced integration has an option to hide the On- Demand Software link in the Customer Portal
    • Absolute Computrace mapping file overhauled to better reflect item statuses and other details of assets imported from Computrace
    • FTPS (FTP over implicit SSL) is now supported by the SQLite Connector for Absolute Manage AMIE integration
    • AMIE fields can now be defined as “CR triggers” for customers managing CMS changes through change requests. Control over which fields cause a change request to be generated is now in the hands of the configuration management administrator
    • New mapping file for Absolute Manage MDM inventory servers, which is required to map LDAP userPrincipalName data to internal users
    • AMIE changes are now recorded in item history entries
    • AMIE mapping files can now be changed for a given source
    • You can now define aliases for item types, so imported items with odd type names (for example, product model numbers) appear as something more suitable
    • AMIE script blocks can now work on multiple parameters (passed as a comma separated list of values to look up from query/web service result objects)
    • Integration option to launch Absolute Manage Admin console in the presence of a single Manage server

    Billing and Contracts

    • Next SLA Action Date was being set incorrectly on “per-request” contract invocation, resulting in a change to the predefined service terms

    Configuration Management

    • New option added to control item relationship map item identifiers (Item Type or Item Number)
    • Items in end of lifecycle states once again show the relationship tab
    • Reworked classification hierarchy for Hardware items for new installs
    • You can now create item groups to represent a collection of related items
    • AMIE synchronization can now be requested on a per-item basis to allow technicians to update the local item representation in near real-time (dependent on the number of federated sources feeding an item, the last synchronization, and running synchronization tasks)
    • You can now search AMIE snapshots by Absolute Computrace ESN, imported from either Absolute Computrace or Absolute Manage
    • Added a default Telephony category to facilitate the import of handset data
    • No longer possible to create an item type matching the name of an existing item type in the same CMDB category from the same manufacturer

    Customer Portal

    • Paging on the Home tab no longer resets when you view and close a request
    • Report generated lists now scroll with a fixed header in place
    • Items accessible by a customer through sharing can now be used to auto-populate the request contents if that is the only item accessible to the customer
    • Proposed solution text after request creation is now editable as a template and there is also a Done button to close the proposed solution page
    • Dimensions of the attachment window have been increased to show all content
    • Profile page reworked to look like it belongs in the Customer Portal. 

    Dashboard

    • Dashboard widgets can now have configuration options defined, such as the clock widget (timezone selection) and the new item groups widget (selection of group)
    • Dashboard drilldowns that take users to filtered list data now cause the resulting page to include a < Dashboard button so that users can return to the dashboard.

    Email

    • Notes added using the bulk request editor and a note template now correctly fill the template parameters
    • Email attachments greater than 10 MB are sent as download links, and emails rejected for being too large due to attachment size are resubmitted with the largest attachment replaced with a download link, until all attachments are dropped
    • Email log now allows filters to be saved and viewed
    • Added option to control visibility of the All Owners notification option, so users who need to can hide it
    • New option for notifications at the team level to notify only members of the current layer (rather than technicians assigned to all layers). 

    Knowledge Management

    • PDFs created from knowledge base articles now show inline images
    • Change rollbacks now work for custom field, category, and type changes
    • SEO friendly URLs can now be defined for knowledge base content. 

    Organizational Units

    • Added the number of technicians assigned to an organizational unit, in addition to the existing column for number of customers. Also added a short list of customers and technicians

    Quick Calls

    • Templated requests (Quick Calls) now show the correct request details if defined without an item assigned, at the point the request is raised
    • Requests generated from Quick Calls now send all notifications in the correct sequence
    • Quick Calls now have a bulk editor available

    Reports

    • Custom-built reports have more sharing options to restrict the visibility of Customer Portal reports
    • Custom-built reports relating to requests can now export with a description
    • The Select Entities window now has a Delete all option for efficiency
    • The Note Prefix Template now has a Note Author field
    • Request Initial Technician is now available as a field in the custom report builder when working with the Request entity
    • Request Time Technician added as a reportable entity against the Request Time report, to allow reporting of who performed how much work against a request
    • Report builder allows you to define the relationship join type to be selected
    • Request history now includes flags for status, technician, and team changed
    • The custom report builder now supports date variables; for example, ([next/last] [x] [hours/days/weeks/months]) with the reference point being the date the report is generated
    • Custom-built reports that produce charts can now be embedded in the dashboard when no runtime parameters are required
    • Drill-down capability has been implemented in many standard reports and custom reports that query contract, customer, item, knowledge article, request, and SLA IDs
    • Added setup option to define PDF orientation, as either portrait (default) or landscape (new) for wider content
    • Deleted dates of clients and requests are now accessible through the report builder. 

    Requests

    • SLA timers are now paused on observed public holidays for queued requests
    • Request archiver now deletes attachments as requests are archived
    • Partner users now only see requests matching their allocated processes (in request lists), but related requests can still be linked to within the request view
    • Closed requests that have a workflow or SLA change applied to them after completion now remain in a closed state (rather than re-opening)
    • Closure code of requests can now be added as a column in request lists
    • Time added to notes with the Apply to Group option selected is once again recorded against the grouped requests
    • New setting added to force technicians to select a closure code
    • You can now search requests by escalation layer
    • Closure codes are now included in PDF exports of requests
    • Request creation emails now include any attachments added during the creation of the request
    • Notes added using the bulk request editor now apply time to the requests the bulk edit action applies to
    • Knowledge content applied as a solution in the Analysis tab now results in a note being added to the request to facilitate easier correspondence for technicians
    • New note icon in request lists is now clickable for direct access to an unread note
    • Resolved issue that could result in double escalation of requests where the restoration and resolution intervals are the same
    • Refined the “reply to” functionality of notes to better integrate with the note template system
    • Notes can now have up to 10 attachments added and sent by email
    • Added new option to disable the search by supported organizational units default option
    • Partner searches for requests are no longer limited to 1000 results
    • Subject lines starting with a HTML comment open tag are now parsed correctly
    • The Add Note button is now always visible, even in edit mode
    • Descriptions now show inline images in place in all known cases
    • You can now merge requests that have been generated multiple times to condense them down to the original request 

    Service Level Management

    • SLA/OLA/UC sections now support filters and views, which can be persisted
    • The SLA editor now includes the SLA name in the window frame
    • The compulsory system escalation trigger at 100% is now shown in the SLA editor (and is non-editable)

    Social Media Integration

    • Added Social Media dashboard category
    • Added Facebook and Twitter stream dashboard widgets
    • You can now send private messages to Twitter followers in response to a tweet

    Surveys

    • “1 in X customers” surveys now include a Send Once Only option, to restrict the number of times a customer receives any given survey
    • Overview element has been added to the survey results Summary tab of the survey editor, to provide survey administrators with an at-a-glance performance metric
    • When requests are anonymous, the system user is no longer processed as a valid target for surveyed customers
    • Survey summary emails are now configurable and have more user-friendly default content
    • Page size of the survey result viewer is now persisted like other lists
    • Questions with no response are no longer considered as part of averages
    • Customer experience metrics based on feedback surveys are now rendered to show customer experience received by customers, users of items/item types, or customer of any given request, or delivered by teams in the respective editors
    • Scored surveys now allow definition of a notification mark. If a score is equal to or less than the mark, a notification is sent for follow-up

    Teams

    • Teams can now (optionally) have a “private” email alias defined so notes emailed to the private alias are appended as private notes
    • Changes to team details, membership, and layers are now audited in a new History section of the team editor, to better facilitate SOX compliance.

    Users

    • Circular references are no longer possible for line manager definitions
    • Definition of Org Unit, Department, and Room fields has been simplified for CSV customer imports
    • Reactivated customer accounts now inherit the web access default value of being enabled (rather than being disabled, or using the previous value)
    • Team leaders can no longer add themselves to teams they are not a member of
    • The My Account tab now shows users which teams they are assigned to
    • The My Account tab now allows users to select their preferred landing pages for the Operations and Change tabs
    • Room fields can now be mapped using LDAP/AD imports of customer details, along with an option to control room creation against departments
    • Technicians can now optionally open the Customer and Item sections direct to the search view, rather than the first 100 sorted records, for faster search access
    • SAML integration is now supported through AD FS for user and customer authentication
    • LDAP servers now have a Purpose field so they can be assigned as being used for login purposes or for just user data (with authentication through SAML)
    • Domain Users and Domain Admins can now be added to AD groups for user account import of these special purpose AD default groups
    • Added option to control the per customer, survey opt-out flag for imported accounts from each LDAP source
    • Open requests assigned to a deleted customer who belongs to an organizational unit are now allocated to the primary contact of that organizational unit. The primary contacts of the requests are also notified they now have ownership of them.
    • When user contact details are imported from AD/LDAP, the system now also attempts to import state data and looks for a match against the country the user is assigned to
    • User lists now have a column to display the technician skill set as defined in the technician record

    Web Services

    • Requests created through web services now send notifications
    • Purchase Order web services now allow listing of vendors, retrieval of vendor details, and creation of lease-type purchase orders
    • Item Cost fields can now be updated through web services when connecting as a user with access to the Finance role 

    Workflows

    • Outbound calls now use the correct state on the outbound call in all instances where this is called
    • Outbound status listeners now correctly fire upon request creation per the state entered logic of a workflow’s entry state

    General

    • Technicians can now (optionally) see each other’s vacation in the calendar, provided they are members of the same team (or teams)
    • Table data with a width that exceeds the viewport now has an inline horizontal scroll bar applied
    • Views can now be shared by the Team Leader role in addition to other roles (Supervisor, Technician, Manager)
    • Added Pretoria as a supported timezone for South African customers
    • Resolved issue with certain fields not recording change history correctly
    • Resolved issue where certain history entries were poorly formatted
    • Deleted teams are now clearly identified in lists where a deleted team is assigned to support an item, and where practical, if a deleted team is assigned, the system default team for that process is assigned instead of the deleted team.
    • Deletion date is now recorded for incidents and customers
    • Working hours definition templates now have a Duplicate button
    • Administrator Portal options have been reworked to reduce tabs
    • New email generation architecture has been put in place to allow further customization and to streamline internal tracking of email generation
    • Attachment data is stored in a directory structure to mitigate the maximum number of files per folder limit on some OS platforms
    • Added Retina display support, through SVG icon implementation, to user interface
    • Reworked internal alert system and various system options to optimize performance in relation to CPU and memory usage
    • Adjusted formatting of many values in data lists where multiple values could not be easily discerned, and applied similar change to Excel-exported fields

    Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.5.0 r5940

    • Customer banners will once again be retained during the upgrade process
    • It is no longer possible to add a private attachment to a public note
    • The Login Report (found in the administrator portal) will now sort correctly
    • It is now possible to upload attachments to shared requests using the customer portal
    • Image thumbnails will now correctly generate for image file where the name ends with a period '.'
    • The Bulk edit button on the User list is once again accessible
    • Import of the country field from Active Directory will now work as intended
    • It is once again possible to assign a 'team template' during user creation
    • CSS customizations have been corrected so they once again function as expected
    • Custom field date/time values will now correctly display in lists and be sortable
    • Team audit trails now record changes to all notification options
    • Dashboard will now load correctly in all circumstances
    • Scheduled Quick Call error message (when displayed) will now correctly clear on the next page refresh
    • Team template layer assignments will now be reflected in the team audit trail
    • Team audit trail will now record changes to private email message alias field
    • Corrected prompt for entry of solution relevance even when present
    • Knowledge base wildcard searches are once again being processed correctly

    Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.5.1 r6051

    • Added full Japanese localization of all portals (Admin, User, Customer & Public)
    • Importing workflows from an XML export will now be limited to the process of the original workflow
    • Absolute Manage MDM import has been corrected so the user field is processed correctly
    • A localization issue has been corrected in the note editor
    • Sybase Anywhere incorrectly appears as a selectable option for Absolute Service
    • Org Unit searches will now always work correctly in the Survey audience selector
    • The audience of several notification emails have been reviewed and subsequently revised
    • SLA Details will now be shown correctly in the customer portal in Services & Items
    • The 'Save' button on the database selection page will now correctly validate the database settings
    • Primary LDAP source is now a selectable option in customer & user list views
    • Unknown items assigned to requests will no longer log users out when bulk editing requests to a workflow exit state
    • Request closure resulting from the handshaking facility will now be correctly inserted into the request audit trail
    • KBA Review Reminders have been reformatted slightly (for readability)
    • N/A will no longer appear in the note text alongside 'known' cc'd receipients
    • Request Audit trails will now show the 'To' and 'Cc' recipients of proposed solutions

    Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.5.1 r6064

    • Corrected issue preventing local customers accounts from being created when using LDAP integration in 'Mixed Mode'

    Features, Fixes, and Enhancements in Absolute Service 8.5.1 r6231

    • Corrected visibility of AMIE mapping file change warning to only appear when the mapping is adjusted
    • Corrected NullPointerException experienced on internal test of domain aliasing
    • FAQ audit trails will now correctly update when edits are made
    • The 'Request Merge' feature will now present users with a confirmation dialog
    • Excel and PDF exports will maintain the sorting of the underlying lists when exported
    • Corrected a case where the customer defined notification option was being ignored
    • Corrected timezones assigned to various locales
    • Updated existing public holiday definitions for supported locales
    • Corrected a case where the Technician CC list of a request was not emailed request updates
    • Queued requests created on a public holiday will now pause SLA timers using the 'Team' location (country/state) as the public holiday source
    • Logging data will no longer be written to catalina.out
    • Absolute Manage AMIE connector is once again joining tables based on the Agent ID
    • Workflow Entry states can now be Approval states
    • Fixed a case where a NullPointerException can result if two requests are immediately linked and then have a note added using the bulk editor
    • Request Creation emails will once again be sent to customers irrespective of the self mail option setting
    • It is no longer possible to use the bulk editor to save requests with no classification set when using the 'custom' option
    • Corrected a numeric conversion in the report builder that resulted in some report widgets displaying no data
    • The request bulk editor now supports defining the closure codes for requests moved to a workflow exit state
    • Corrected a case where after upgrade to v8.5, some survey results were reversed

    Installing Absolute Service 8.5

    Absolute Service has a universal installer that runs on all supported platforms (see Minimum System Requirements). This installer requires a 64 bit operating system, running Oracle Java SDK 7 or later.

    IMPORTANT If you use web services, you need to begin migrating your legacy applications to the new interfaces (using the underscore prefix) to prepare for overhauled interfaces in a future release; for example, “_Authenticate”.

    Upgrading to Absolute Service 8.5

    Before you can upgrade to Absolute Service 8.5, you need a valid support and maintenance contract. If you do not have a support and maintenance contract, contact your account manager or a member of the Absolute Software sales team.

    For customers with an existing support and maintenance contract, go to the Absolute Service Global Support site at https://service.absolute.com and log in with your support credentials. The attached AbsooluteService8.5UpgradeGuide.pdf provides instructions for downloading the product.

    IMPORTANT To process various localization routines, upgrading to Absolute Service 8.5 uses the locale of the user who is running the upgrade. Therefore, this user’s operating system must match exactly that of the default messages stored within the previous version; for example, use the English operating system when upgrading to solve any problems upgrading the language files.

    The Absolute Service 8.5 Upgrade Guide (attached to this article) provides information and tasks on the following topics:

    • how to upgrade from earlier versions to the newest version of Absolute Service
    • how to upgrade from LiveTime 6.5 and later versions to Absolute Service 8.5
    • post-upgrade instructions for administrators and supervisors

    Contacting Absolute Global Support

    If you have difficulty upgrading Absolute Service, contact Absolute Global Support (https://service.absolute.com) and log in with your support credentials. We welcome your questions, comments, and feature requests.